Posts Tagged ‘Kimberly Jo’

Burbank Primary Election Commentary

February 27, 2011

Incumbents and voter apathy ruled in Tuesday’s Primary Election, with all 4 incumbents (1 Council & 3 School Board members) being easily re-elected in the lowest voter turnout since the Mail-in Ballot system designed to increase voter turnout began in 2005. A meagerly 8,073 votes were cast (approx. 14.3% of 56,499 Registered Voters), representing an almost 3,000 vote decline from the 2009 Primary where 10,990 votes were cast. On the Council side, incumbent Gary Bric, aided by 3 mailers from the IEBU, received 4,642 votes or 57.5%, down slightly from the 61% he received when elected 4 years ago. Emily Gabel-Luddy came in 2nd with 3,845 and will face Bob Frutos in the April General Election run-off.

Frutos received 3,071 votes and has a lot of ground to make-up if he’s going to turn-the-tables, but such a turn-around is not without precedent. In Bric’s first run for Council he easily beat Todd Campbell in the Primary by 414 votes (2921 vs. 2507), only to loose in the General Election in a dramatic 1,841 vote swing (4933 vs. 3506). That said, for Frutos to win he’s going to have to find votes and give those 3,000 people who didn’t vote this Primary a reason to vote for him. I asked Todd Campbell a few years ago how he did it and he shared with me that he took time off work and basically knocked on every door in Burbank. Perennial Councilman Dave Golonski knows this campaign “secret” well and despite the advent of social media, blogs & email, good old-fashion door knocking is still the key, especially in a largely disinterested electorate.

Jackie Waltman who was a late entry in the race got a very respectable 2,131 Votes. It will be interesting to see if she sticks around to lobby the Council for the elimination of public employee bonuses, greater transparency, and opposes the now mandatory annual BWP Rate increases, or if she does what most challengers do, disappear like Kimberley Jo & others. I for one hope she remains politically active & look forward to seeing her speaking at future Council meetings.

The School Board election saw a good showing by 2-time challenger Gregory Bragg, but not enough to challenge the incumbents. Most people appear fairly happy with the direction our Schools and the election results reflect that. The School Board now faces the challenges of dealing with further cuts in education funding. It will be interesting to hear where they weigh-in on Governor Brown’s proposal to eliminate Redevelopment Agencies and if they proceed with an effort to put on the ballot at Parcel Tax increase in 2013.

So what does this all mean? You can expect more of the same from Bric & the Council majority, although Gary did go on the record as stating he was now opposed to City Employee Bonuses after getting heat over the issue during the campaign. Hopefully he’s a man of his word and given Frutos & Gabel-Luddy are also opposed to these secret bonus payments, we can at least see an end to that practice soon. Bric has shown the ability to think independently and has even voted with Councilman Gordon on occasion. It will be interesting to see what if anything he can accomplish during his 2nd Term to make Burbank a better place to live & work. Don’t expect any changes re the Council’s hostile attitude towards Burbank Police Dept. Litigation and related expenditure that has already cost Burbank Taxpayers unaccounted $ Millions. You can also count on Utility & Water Rate hikes again, but apparently the majority of folks in our upper-middle class town don’t mind. The reality is because of the excellent rainfall we’ve received the last 6 months, most people haven’t really felt the pain of the 13.5% Water Rate hike approved last year, but with warmer weather coming they soon will, especially if/when the Council approves another 8% increase in June.

The future of our Mail-in Elections is another hot topic that needs to be addressed. It’s time to review & re-think the whole process IMO. Some feel the City should pay for postage to encourage more voter participation. Would it help? It certainly can’t hurt. I have no doubt some people filled in their ballots but didn’t have a stamp handy, were going to drop it off but didn’t get around to doing so for whatever reason. That said, it really doesn’t get any easier than this, and the City provides numerous places for residents to drop off their ballots.

Perhaps we should mail out ballots 2 weeks later to give candidates a few extra weeks to introduce themselves and get their messages out to voters. This is especially important for the challengers who do not have the name recognition of incumbents. In fact to my knowledge, no incumbent Council or School Board member has ever not been re-elected since we went to the mail-in system.

Should we go back to having an actual Election Day? Perhaps, but I worry voter turnout could end up being even lower, and doing so would make our Election more expensive. A related idea is to move the election date to November to co-incide with Federal & State Elections. I believe this would absolutely increase voter turnout but worry local issues & candidates would get lost in the mix, overshadowed by the massive media coverage & advertising devoted to partisan Federal/State campaigns. It’s always amazed me that so many people pay so much attention to these bigger races, yet in many ways the decisions made by our local elected officials have far greater impact on our daily lives.

Regardless of what happens, one change I’d like to see is a few real debates where members of the public can stand up and ask questions of all the candidates (1 pre-Primary/ 1 pre-General), vs. the current “controlled” LWV Candidates Forum with pre-screened questions. It would also help if our local rag (Burbank Leader) actually covered the election and the big issues more than they currently do and in a impartial manner. One couldn’t help but notice the page 2 preferential placement of Emily Gabel-Luddy’s answers in their Candidate Q&A’s and the Mailbag letter of support published the weekend before the Primary, something that was disallowed by previous Editors.  The previous weekend we had the Bric + Gabel-Luddy endorsements, Bob Olsen’s City employee bonus defense and Craig Sherwood’s support for City nepotism. I sent responses to the later 2 [scroll down] but neither were published, nor were several other letters I received copies of from well-known Burbank residents opposed to the “confidential” City Hall bonus payments.

So why are so few people in Burbank engaged politically? I know we’re all busy with work, school, church/community activities etc., but this unprecedented low voter turnout is an ominous sign for the future of our City as so few people seem to care. Can folks not find 1 hour over the weekend to at least watch the LWV Candidates Forum to make an informed/educated decision vs. voting for someone just because you’ve heard of them, or received a bunch of glossy mailers, or because a friend/neighbor told you to, or because the local newspaper endorsed them? Are people that lazy, that busy, that apathetic?

Without public involvement bad things happen. Remember what happened in Bell was largely caused by residents not paying attention or voting. In a few months the 3 big BPD law suits will go to trial and things are going to come out that may shake the core of our City to it’s foundations. But knowbody cares, unless of course some developer wants to build something in their neighborhood. The lack of any real debate also doesn’t help generate interest; We have one Candidate’s Forum and a few Q&A’s in the Burbank Leader and that’s about it. I’d really love to see Frutos & Gabel-Luddy go head-to-head on the issues before the General Election but that’s probably not going to happen.

Many people who were once active in local Politics are no longer involved, having been discouraged and in some cases the victims of vicious personal attacks and retaliation for their opposition to our City Council & Staff. I’m not sure what cataclysmic event will cause those people to once again get involved; perhaps something to do with the Airport (expansion) or BPD lawsuit revelations? Who knows, but for now the only thing we have to look forward to is at least one new Council person to replace outgoing Council member Anja Reinke, whose largely forgettable 4 year term ends in April. Please PRAY for Burbank!

BURBANK 2011 PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS

City Council

Jacqueline “Jackie” Waltman – 2,131 votes

Emily Gabel-Luddy – 3,845 votes – MOVES ON TO GENERAL ELECTION

Robert “Bob” Frutos – 3,071 votes – MOVES ON TO GENERAL ELECTION

Gary Bric – 4,642 – ELECTED

Board of Education

Ted Bunch – 4,373 – ELECTED

Roberta Grande-Reynolds – 4,491 – ELECTED

Dave L. Kemp – 5,041 – ELECTED

Gregory Bragg – 3,318

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Burbank Primary Election – Opinion

February 20, 2009

Now that most people have already mailed in their ballots, I thought I’d weigh-in with my final election thoughts. Was it just us or did anyone else have a hard time discerning which candidates to support? We read each candidate’s statement, watched their videos and the LWV Forum on Channel 6, visited each candidates web site, and conducted our own Q&A survey to see where they stand on a variety of  issues that are important to us. (See Below). So after all that, who are we supporting?

First off, someone new! Barbara Sharp is our No.1 pick in the upcoming Burbank Primary election. We’re very impressed by Barbara’s knowledge of local issues, her creative & innovative ideas, and common sense approach to solving the economic challenges we face. She supports our leading health & environmental initiatives, will abolish permit fees for small-scale video productions, and supports changes to our 10yr old Home Occupation ordinance to provide greater flexibility for those who choose to work from home. Moreover, Barbara is committed to ensuring Burbank remains the “Media Capital of the World” by working hard to retain & attract new media/entertainment companies & jobs. She’s a breath of fresh air with an infectious spirit, boundless energy and deep love for the City she now calls home. I hope my fellow media professionals will join me in supporting Barbara Sharp for Burbank City Council.

Second, someone older and familiar…Dave Golonksi. There’s something to be said for experience, especially during these uncertain times, and while Dave & I have not always seen eye to eye, he is tried & tested and has served this community well. He’s been fiscally responsible, lead the fight in obtaining airport protections for residents (Measure B, Part 161 study), has been a champion for youth causes, and put a stop to the mansionization that was ruining our neighborhoods. He proposed changes to our Art in Public Places program that now allows developers to give ½% of a projects total cost to fund school arts programs. He threatened to put up a billboard to shame a certain carrier that was violating our voluntary airport curfew. He has a vision for a new “green” aquatics center & year-round swimming programs, and recently came up with a proposal that could see Burbank & Glendale combining to build a new Armory on the B-6 property, that could also serve as a Winter Homeless Shelter. While others are talking, Dave is doing and has earned our support.

Third…someone “in-between”. There’s a number of candidate’s who’ve served the community on various boards & committees over the last few years, but we feel Lee Dunayer is a good choice to balance out the line-up. He’s a financial whiz and we could use all the help we can to balance the budget & deal with the financial challenges we face as a City. As BWP Vice-Chair he’s knowledgeable on Utility & infrastructure issues, is a big fan of renewable energy and our “green” efforts to be environmentally friendly, and as a former PERC member (& pilot), someone I trust to protect our best interests in relation to airport matters. My wife & I have been a big fan of Marsha Ramos over the years and trust her judgment, so with her glowing endorsement, along with that of City Treasurer Donna Anderson, Lee gets the nod for the 3rd available Council seat.

We all spent countless hours watching the Presidential campaign coverage this past year, but how many of us are willing to spend an hour or 2 researching the people who will be making critical decisions that in many ways, will have a greater impact on our daily lives than the decisions made in Washington or Sacramento. Ballots are due by February 24th. If you haven’t already done so, please take the time to Vote…Burbank’s future depends on it!

Burbank Council Candidate Q&A – Kimberly Jo

February 3, 2009

Kimberly Jo

Kimberly Jo

1. In 2007 Burbank passed a Second-Hand Smoke Control Ordinance to protect the public’s health & well-being, and which has since been emulated by numerous cities (Glendale, Pasadena etc.). Do you support the “SHSCO” & would you support an amendment to the ordinance to limit smoking in multi-unit housing?

2. In late 2008 the Council updated Burbank’s Film Permit Ordinance to accommodate the use of hand-held cameras, but still prohibits the use of such cameras without a ($350) permit if external lighting/audio gear is used. Would you support amending the current fee structure to waive &/or lower permit fees for small-scale video productions? 

3. In 2006 the Council adopted a ZTA with AUP process to allow Music Lessons as a Home Occupation. Would you support revisiting our (10 year old) Home Occupation Ordinance to allow more reasonable & flexible home business usage to enable more people (media freelancers, moms etc.) to work-at-home?

4. You all seem to agree that protecting our residential neighborhoods “quality-of-life” is key. We live adjacent to a school in a R-1 zone and my neighbors and I experience daily the negative impacts from peak-hour traffic, school noise & student interactions. Many of us have had our property damaged by students and soccer is now being played on weekends. What can/will you do to protect our quality-of-life & safety?

5. Do you support the building of a new Aquatics Facility to replace our aging swimming pools and year-round programs for all people & ages?

6. If I support your candidacy, will you return my calls, read & respond to my emails, &/or meet with me (if necessary) to discuss an issue of importance? i.e. Will you be my/our representative?

7. Would you make any changes to the current Public Comment period at Council meetings or leave it “as is”? (Please specify any changes)

8. Accountability and open/transparent Government is important to most people. What steps will you take to ensure Staff’s responsiveness to information requests and the public’s access to documentation under the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act)?

9. What specific cuts in spending will you propose in order to overcome our projected $7 million dollar plus budget deficit in 2009? Can you balance the Budget without raising utility rates or dramatically cutting City services? Will you hold City Department heads accountable for wasteful spending & inefficiencies?

10. With all of the recent business closures and job losses, what can we do as a community to maintain a vibrant local economy? What would you do to encourage employers to hire locally and the public to shop & dine locally?

11. There’s been some controversy over the past few years re the use of Redevelopment Funds for certain projects, most notably BHC & FSA. Where do you stand on these matters? How would you maximize our Redevelopment dollars to improve Burbank.

12. With imminent budget cuts to School district funds, what if anything can you do to work with BUSD to ensure our children’s educational needs are met, as well as our school’s infrastructure needs?

13. Do you support Term Limits? Would you support a ballot measure that would allow the people of Burbank to vote on this issue? Will you vow to serve no more than 2 full terms?

14. Where do you stand on Airport related matters such as the Part 161 Study, the possibility of noisy stage-2 aircrafts being re-directed from Van Nuys Airport, the B-6 Property and a new relocated terminal?

15. Re the Environment; What specific things can we do that we aren’t already doing to improve our air quality and be more eco-friendly?

As your City Councilmember, I will:

• serve to support and protect the public’s health & well being
• serve to leverage the City’s reputation as the Media Capital of the World
• serve to encourage entrepreneurship
• serve to promote human relations among diverse communities
• serve to promote recreation facilities
• serve to respond to the concerns of all residents
• serve to promote civic participation of all residents
• serve to practice government accountability and transparency
• serve to identify efficiencies, make cuts and raise taxes only as a last resort with your permission
• serve to establish relations and build collaborative forms between business and thought leaders to identify Burbank as a place to incubate and innovate
• serve to maximize Redevelopment dollars by investing in high priority, critical needs
• serve to promote healthy relations among our agnecies
• serve to increase levels of civic engagement in our City
• serve toidentify opportunities for improvement, lower environmental impact and increase capacity
• serve to ensure that Burbank has the infrastructure to take advantage of new, eco-friendly technologies

I am open to consider the merit and feasibility of any solutions that accomplish these goals.

Contact Kimberly Jo:
Email: kimberlyjo@gmail.com
Web site: http://www.KimberlyJoforBurbank.com Kimberly Jo web site


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